AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

105th Spring Meeting of the AAVSO

Thursday, May 5 – Saturday, May 7 2016

Current list of attendees


Registration for this meeting is closed.

AAVSO 105th Spring Meeting will be held May 5-7, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Louis, MO. St. Louis was chosen partly because of its central location (a mere 450 miles from the geographic center of the continental US) and convenience to a major airport. It is also home to a fantastic science museum with planetarium, two local astronomy organizations, and plenty of interesting things for spouses to see and do.

Please note: You must be logged into your AAVSO web account in order to register.


- Updates - Transportation
- Description of Events - Registration/List of Fees
- Schedule - Abstract Submission
- Accommodations - Deadlines to Remember



The theme of this year’s meeting is Pulsating Stars, and we expect that only the Saturday afternoon session will be dedicated to general variable star astronomy. Three distinguished astronomers will be our keynote speakers, one on each day. The meeting will begin on Thursday evening with a keynote address by Dr. Horace Smith, Professor Emeritus of Michigan State University and a noted expert on RR Lyrae stars. Dr. Smith's talk will be accessible remotely, to anyone for free, via GoToWebinar. To register please go to : https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5791902173743269122

Title: Learning from Pulsating Stars: Progress over the Last Century

Abstract: Scarcely more than a century has elapsed since it began to be widely accepted that pulsation plays an important role in the variability of stars.  During that century pulsating stars have been used as tools to explore a variety of astrophysical questions, including the determination of distances to other galaxies, the testing of timescales of evolution through the HR diagram, and the identification of the ages and star formation histories of stellar populations.  

Among the significant early milestones along this investigative path are Henrietta Leavitt's discovery of a relation between the periods and luminosities of Cepheids, Harlow Shapley's proposal that all Cepheids are pulsating stars, and Arthur Stanley Eddington's use of the observed period change of delta Cephei to constrain its power source. Today our explorations of pulsating stars are bolstered by long observational histories of brighter variables, surveys involving unprecedentedly large numbers of stars, and improved theoretical analyses. This talk will review aspects of the history and our current understanding of pulsating stars, paying particular attention to RR Lyrae, delta Scuti, and Cepheid variables. Observations by AAVSO members have provided insight into several questions regarding the behavior of these stars.

Friday’s schedule includes a keynote address by Dr. Lee Anne Willson, Professor Emerita of Iowa State University and expert theoretician on pulsating variables and a past AAVSO President, a special session on pulsators, and an evening visit to the St. Louis Science Center and Planetarium.

Saturday will include the AAVSO Membership meeting in the morning, from 9:00am - 10:30am, followed by an invited talk from Dr. Virginia Trimble, Professor of Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine, who specializes in the history of astronomy and in stellar and galactic structure and evolution. The afternoon will feature general paper sessions on a variety of variable star related topics. The meeting will conclude with a banquet at the hotel on Saturday night.


Paper Sessions:  Paper sessions on pulsating variable star related topics will be held all day on Friday, with more general variable star topics addressed in the Saturday afternoon paper sessions. Posters will be hung on Friday and can remain posted through Saturday. 

Membership Meeting: All attendees are invited to this gathering, which will be held Saturday morning. The purpose of this meeting is to inform attendees of the activities of the Association. The Director’s Report as well as reports from the Secretary and Treasurer will be included.  All portions of the membership meeting will be broadcast online via GoToWebinar.  To register for the webinar go to: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3872154871646526978

We will leave plenty of time for Q&A and will be taking questions from both in-person and online attendees.

Traditional Breakfast Buffet: Crisp Bacon, Cured Ham, Farm Fresh Scrambled Eggs, Breakfast Potatoes, Sliced Seasonal Fresh Fruit and Melon, Fresh Baked Breakfast Breads, Muffins and Pastries with Butter and Fruit Preserves, Coffee, Tea and Juices.

Closing Award Banquet: The Closing Banquet (buffet) will be held at the Crowne Plaza on Saturday evening. The banquet will be preceded by a cash bar and include several special award presentations.  There will not be a full-length after dinner talk, but we are planning some special presentations and fun activities including a trivia game and raffle. As this is a buffet dinner, no entree selection is required during registration.  You are welcome to select any entree you wish from the buffet - or some of each!


Times listed are local time CDT. Add 5 hours for UT.


Thursday, May 5th

8:00am- 5:00pm AAVSO Council Meeting (council members only)

5:00pm – 6:00pm: Registration opens

6:00pm – 7:00pm: Invited Talk: Horace Smith

“Learning from Pulsating Stars: Progress over the Last Century”


Friday, May 6th

8:00am – 9:00am: Traditional Breakfast Buffet

8:30am - Registration opens

9:00am- 10:30am Paper Session: “Pulsating Variable Stars I”

9:00am- 9:15am Stella Kafka

Welcome and Introduction

9:15am- 10:00am Invited Talk: Lee Anne Willson

“Miras, Mass Loss, and the Ultimate Fate of the Earth”

10:00am-10:30am Michael Joner

“Discovery of a delta Scuti Variable Star in the Field of a Suspected Planetary Transit Candidate”

10:30am – 11:00am: Coffee Break

11:00am- Noon Paper Session: “Pulsating Variable Stars II”

11:00am- 11:30am Brian W Murphy

“A Detailed Survey of Pulsating Variables in Five Globular Clusters”

11:30am- 11:45 David Cowall

“Establishing a CCD Light Curve For BW Vul”

11:45- Noon Charles Kuehn

“Studying RR Lyrae Stars with Kepler/K2”

Noon- 2:00pm: Lunch Break

2:00pm - 3:30pm Paper Session: “Pulsating Variable Stars III”

2:00pm– 2:30pm: Joyce Guzik

“Unsolved Problems for Main-Sequence Variable Stars Revealed by the NASA Kepler Data”

2:30pm-3:00pm David G. Turner

“Type C Semiregulars and Irregulars: the Forgotten Pulsating Luminous Stars”

3:00pm- 3:30pm Poster Introductions (5 min each)

  • Kristine Larsen, Corwin Hoover

“Identification of ASAS Ellipsoidal Variables Misclassified as Miscellaneous in VSX”

  • Kristine Larsen

“Utilizing the AAVSO’s Variable Star Index (VSX) In Undergraduate Research Projects”

  • Barton J. Pritzl, Thomas J. Gehrman; Ellyn Bell; Ricardo Salinas; Horace A. Smith; Maircio Catelan

“RR Lyrae in Sagittarius Dwarf Globular Clusters”

  • Austin Ryan

“A Photometric Study of Three Eclipsing Binary Stars”

  • Eric Dose

“First Look at Photometric Reduction via Mixed-Model Regression”

3:30pm – 4:00pm: Coffee Break

4:00pm – 5:00pm: Paper Session: “Pulsating Variable Stars IV”

4:00pm- 4:20pm William Lee Powell Jr.

“Studying Variable Stars with Undergraduate Students at the University of Nebraska Kearney”

4:20pm- 4:40pm Michael D. Joner

“Photometry and Spectroscopy of V2455 Cygni”

7:00pm- 10:00pm First Friday event at the St. Louis Science Center 


Saturday, May 7th

8:00am – 9:00am: Traditional Breakfast Buffet

8:30am - Registration opens

9:00am – 10:30am: AAVSO Membership Meeting: Minutes, Treasurer’s & Director’s Reports, AAVSO Awards

10:30am – 11:00am: coffee break

11:00am- 11:45am: Invited Talk: Virginia Trimble

“Exoplanets and Multiverses”

11:45am- Noon: Group Picture

Noon - 2:00pm: Lunch Break

2:00pm – 3:30pm: General Paper Session I

2:00pm- 2:30pm James Small (St. Louis Astronomical Society)  

“SLAS Library Telescope Program”

2:30pm- 3:00pm Mike Simonsen

“Three New Z Cam Stars”

3:00pm – 3:30pm: Coffee Break

3:30pm- 4:30pm: General Paper Session II

3:30pm- 3:45pm Marco Ciocca

“Converting Differential Photometry results to the Standard System using Transform Generator and Transform Applier” 

3:45pm- 4:15pm Gary Billings

“V571 Lyr is a multiple system”

4:15pm- 4:30pm Mike Simonsen

“The mystery of V523 Lyrae”

6:00pm: Cash bar opens 

7:00pm- 10:00pm: AAVSO Closing Banquet, Trivia Contest, Raffle


Sleeping rooms have been reserved at the Crowne Plaza Downtown for AAVSO meeting attendees at a special group rate of $139 plus tax. (Hotel address is: 200 N. Fourth Street, St. Louis, MO 63102) Please make your reservations by calling the hotel at 314-621-8200 before April 5, 2016.  Please be sure to mention that you will be participating in the AAVSO meeting when making room reservations. If you have any difficulties securing the group rate, please ask for Leslie Havens (Sales Director).

Roommate matching assistance will be available for those who would like to lower costs by sharing a room - just complete the appropriate section of the registration form.


  • For those driving or renting cars - onsite parking is $5.00/day, half the usual rate.
  • From the airport:
    • Taxi: Travel from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL) to the Crowne Plaza will be about $40.
    • Airport Shuttle: Go Best Express airport shuttle. Click here to reserve an airport shuttle seat using the convention rate ($17 each way, per person).  Please have your credit card ready, as a credit card is required and charged when you book. To receive the discounted rate, reservations MUST be made online using the link to receive the discounted rate.  Standard rates ($22 one way, per person) will apply for walk up reservations made on the spot. 


Registration: You can complete this form online at the top of this page (you must be logged into the AAVSO website) or you can call the AAVSO (617-354-0484) to request that a paper copy of the registration forms be mailed to you.  After March 29, 2016 registration will be more expensive. Note that the registration fee includes coffee breaks throughout and a hot breakfast buffet on Friday & Saturday. 

Family Registrations are available for educators wishing to bring students and attendees wishing to register their significant others.

Students: Educators bringing students to the meeting are welcome to use the family rate to register themselves and up to 3 students.  Educators with larger groups or students who would like to attend on their own should contact us for more information.

Spouse/Guest Networking: We encourage attendees to bring spouses, family members & other guests to the meeting, but we know that some guests may not wish to attend all of the sessions.  We will set up a mailing list so that spouses/guests can share sightseeing ideas and make plans to "hit the town" together.  Sign-up for this mailing list is available via the meeting registration form.

Virtual Registration: We are offering the option of registering for the meeting as an online attendee and virtually attending all paper sessions.  We will be using a webinar service to broadcast the meeting.  Video will consist primarily of the presenter's PowerPoint presentation and audio. We are happy to expand the possibilities of meeting attendance to more of our members, observers, and friends. If you will not be traveling to Missouri, but would like to attend the meeting online, please visit the AAVSO store to purchase access.  (There is a link at the top of this page.)  Prior to the meeting, you will receive an email containing links for each session. (All non-member rates include membership through 2016.)

List of Fees: 
In Person Meeting Registration (member): Single early - $125, Family early - $185, Single late - $135, Family late - $195
In Person Meeting Registration (non-member): Single early - $175, Family early - $235, Single late - $185, Family late - $245 (includes membership through 2016)
Virtual Meeting Registration (member): $100
Virtual Meeting Registration (non-member): $150 (includes membership through 2016)
Banquet buffet: $60


Abstracts will be accepted on a space-available basis.  We encourage attendees to submit abstracts by April 5, 2016 for the best chance at securing a time slot.  You can complete this form online (strongly preferred) or you can call the AAVSO (617-354-0484) to request that a paper copy of the abstract form be mailed to you. NOTE: The abstract form will not appear until you have registered for the meeting.

Meeting attendees are permitted to submit up to 2 abstract forms. (This can be 2 posters, 2 oral presentations or one of each.) Abstracts are limited to 500 words. 


• March 29, 2016 - Early Registration Deadline 
• April 5, 2016- Hotel Reservation Deadline & Early Abstract Submission Deadline

Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about the meeting.

We hope to see you in May!